According to Autocar magazine, a plan is under serious consideration by GM for a rear-wheel-drive V8 sports saloon to be developed and built in North America to replace the Commodore, which is sold there as a Chevrolet SS.
If the business case stacks up, the new-generation SS would be exported to Australia, where it would be pressed into service by both Holden and Holden Special Vehicles, which creates the VXR8.
Senior GM engineer Dave Leone said affordable rear-drive performance cars would remain part of GM’s product portfolio beyond the Aussie Holden’s demise.
“If you are a performance enthusiast, then rear-wheel drive is the way to go and that’s the part of the rear-drive [GM] Alpha platform will play,” Leone said.
GM announced it would stop making vehicles in Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2017 late last year, citing high costs and a poor supply chain as the reasons behind its decision, which puts an end to 70 years of Holden vehicle manufacturing in the company.
Toyota has also announced it will be pulling out of Australia by the start of 2017, leaving the country with no local vehicle production. Like GM, Toyota will instead move to become a vehicle importer in the country.
If a green light is given, the new model will be developed and built in North America, with Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) possibly creating its own variant as it does now with the Australian-made Commodore.
Senior GM engineer Dave Leone confirmed that the Detroit carmaker is interested in continuing the series beyond Holden's manufacturing closure.
The Dalby Bio-Ethanol Refinery was closed for 3 weeks last Saturday due to lack of demand for fuel grade ethanol.
In 2011 the Federal Government confirmed that the Ethanol Production Grants Scheme would be renewed for a period of 10 years. On that basis companies such as Dalby Bio- Refinery Limited and United Petroleum invested heavily in renewable fuels and worked hard to promote and market E10 Petrol and E85 to both Government and end consumers. However the Federal Government and State Governments have not taken any steps to ensure that the Oil Majors gave the consumer an option to buy the superior and greener fuels, nor did they take steps to ensure that their own fleets used these renewable fuels. Indeed both the Federal Government and State Governments know that the Oil Majors have been systematically removing filling positions from their sites to drive down sales, and not passing on the full excise benefit to the consumer. At the same time the Shell with their $1.63 Billion investment in Ethanol production in Brazil and BP with their massive ethanol joint venture also in Brazil, are selling and promoting ethanol fuels in many countries across the world. The Oil Majors were as very disappointed that the Ethanol Production Grants scheme was ratified, as they wanted to import ethanol from Brazil.
The Federal Government in a quest to make budget savings are considering a back flip on an Australian Government promise to the renewable fuels industry which had strong bi-partisan support. The BREE Report commissioned by the Department of Industry contradicts many previous Government and Industry Reports, and is fundamentally flawed.
The Dalby Bio-Refinery is struggling to break even due to low demand caused by Queensland State Government inaction. We now find that following the investment of many millions of dollars into the renewable fuel industry the Federal Government will close down the Australian Ethanol Industry on Budget Night. This is clearly unfair and sets a dangerous precedent to local and foreign investors in any industrial enterprise in Australia.
United Petroleum has been a very strong supporter of renewable fuels and particularly ethanol and sells its E10 products in Queensland at a 4 cpl discount to unleaded petrol. It has continued to invest in ethanol fuels due to the Ethanol Production Grants and representations by Government in support of greener and renewable fuels. The move by the Federal Government to shut down the industry will deprive its customers the opportunity to choose a higher octane, greener and lower pump price petrol.
On a number of occasions the Ethanol Producers have requested an Ethanol Mandate in Queensland to sure up demand which clearly acts to reduce production costs and ensure that the Major Oil companies promote the use of ethanol. The Queensland State Government decided that despite falling volumes due to lack of Major Oil Company support, and the fact that there are two Queensland producers in regional Queensland, that there was no reason to act. If the Federal Government decides to close the industry down on Budget Night the action that should have been taken by the Queensland State Government will be too late.
Government Mandates are in place in some 59 countries across the world for health reasons, environmental reasons, and energy security reasons. In the United States of America it is mandated that ethanol is added to almost every litre of unleaded petrol sold in every State of that country. It seems that Australia is the only country in the world to decide that renewable fuels should not be encouraged and fossil fuels are the future.
The Staff at the Dalby Bio-Refinery are hard working and highly skilled people and are worried about their futures. Further it will impact the contractors and suppliers to the Dalby Bio- Refinery most of which live on the Darling Downs. It is clear that whilst the Federal and State Governments talk about regional development when the election is over so is the support.
The Dalby Bio- Refinery is a very large purchaser of grain in the Darling Downs area and producer of high quality Cattle Feed. This supports our farmers by placing an effective price floor under the price of grain when the world prices fall to very low levels, which they do due the their cyclical nature. The loss of the Dalby Bio-Refinery will be just another blow to the farmers of the Darling Downs, at a time when drought is biting.
The Federal Department of Industry has not acted to encourage the renewable fuels industry in Australia and the BREE Report encourages the importation of renewable fuels into Australia. Clearly given Australia’s strong agricultural sector, a domestic renewable fuels industry is most important. At the same time the NSW State Government have been unable to enforce the 6% ethanol mandate that they have in place in NSW. The Major Oil Companies have time and time again flouted the NSW Ethanol Mandate and not met the NSW Government mandated targets without any proper reasons.
We call on the Federal Government to renew their commitment to the Ethanol production Grants Scheme to honour the green fuels and environmental commitments they made to the Australian people. We also call on the NSW State Government to enforce their legislation and bring the Major Oil Companies to heal.
Importantly the Queensland State Government must now take action and introduce an ethanol mandate to stabilize the industry.
V8 Supercars has announced United Petroleum, an independently owned Australian company, as the Official Fuel Supplier to the sport.
United Petroleum is also a major producer of ethanol from its sorghum refinery in Dalby, with which V8 Supercars race.
In a multi-million dollar three-year arrangement, United Petroleum will supply the entire sport with a premium high-performance Ethanol 85 Race Fuel and also come on board as a major partner of the sport.
Eddie Hirsch, Owner & Director of United Petroleum said United are delighted to announce this ground- breaking partnership with V8 Supercars, "As Australia's only integrated Ethanol fuels producer & marketer, and largest independent fuel retailer, were very excited to have this opportunity to showcase our range of performance Ethanol-blended products."¯
Tom O'Brien, United CEO added, "our nation-wide network of United Service Stations will give V8 Supercar race fans the chance to access to the high performance fuels similar to that used by their race heroes¯."
United Petroleum is one of the fastest growing independent companies in Australia, specialising in the retail and wholesale fuel markets; convenience stores and ethanol manufacture; generating employment for more than 2,000 Australians.
They will supply the Championship and Dunlop Series fields with high-performance 85 per cent ethanol fuel, also promoting sustainable and renewal fuel to the community. At track, the fuel will be distributed by Race Fuels.